Introduction: How to Make Your 3D Printed Projects Magnetic

Picture of How to Make Your 3D Printed Projects Magnetic

This Instructable shows you how to embed magnets into your next 3D printed project for suoper-cool results

Things You’ll Need:

  • Magnets
  • Calipers
  • Access to CAD Software
  • Access to an FDM 3D printer: This technique for magnetizing your 3D printed projects is built around fused filament deposition (FDM) technology. That’s the most common type of 3D printer most people have access to. Makerbots, Printrbots, Ultimakers, anything that uses a thermo-plastic (usually in a spool) and melts the plastic layer by layer onto the build platform is an FDM printer.

Step 1: ​Get Some Magnets

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I like to use neodymium magnets. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes and are fairly easy get at your local home improvement store. For the largest variety of these magnets, try an online retailer like Amazon. While they are a little more expensive than less powerful magnets, the extra strength is worth it.

Step 2: Measure Magnets

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Use your calipers to measure the exact dimensions of your magnets.

One trick with these small magnets is stack them two or three high, this does two things. First it increases the magnetic strength of your project, the second is that it increases the amount of engagement your magnets have with the plastic recesses they are sitting in. This will help immensely if the spacing of your magnets gets too crowded and they start to attract or repel them selves out of place

Step 3: Create Negative Space in Your CAD Model

Picture of Create Negative Space in Your CAD Model

Add 0.015” to the dimensions of your magnets and make a negative spaces that size inside your project approximately 0.015” deep. You’re aiming for a loose fit, rather than a tight fit here.

The number of magnets you use is up to you but do some experimentation with a stack of paper 0.015” deep to make sure you have enough magnetic strength to support the weight of your project.

Step 4: Start Your 3D Print... But Keep an Eye on It

Picture of Start Your 3D Print... But Keep an Eye on It

The first time around you print your project you’ll need to watch it pretty closely.

Just before the printer starts to cover up the magnet recesses you’ve made, pause the printer. On some printers this is done by initiation a filament change.

Step 5: Pause Your 3D Print and Insert Your Magnets

Picture of  Pause Your 3D Print and Insert Your Magnets

Once your printer is paused, you can insert your magnet stacks into the recesses.

Step 6: Restart Your Print

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Once the magnets are in place restart your print. You’ll want to watch it finish up incase the magnets pop out of place. It also worth noting here that you might want to do a test to see if your extruder has any magnetic properties. Most use a brass nozzle which will not attract your magnets but I can't say I know for sure that every extruder out there won't be the same way.

Step 7: Enjoy Magnetic 3D Printed Project

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Comments

coolkids (author)2015-07-26

don't they try and stick to the hot end extruder

KurtH3 (author)coolkids2015-07-26

I have a Makerbot Replicator 2X and my extruder has a brass nozzle, that screws into an aluminum block, which is shrouded in some ceramic thing so no I haven't even remotely had that problem - but I can't say I know that would be true for everyone. I may edit one of my steps to say "hey check to make sure you're extruder isn't magnetic"

coolkids (author)KurtH32015-07-27

ya thats good thanks

pucksurfer (author)2015-07-21

Awesome idea!

tomatoskins (author)2015-07-21

I've never thought of this simple technique. Love it!

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